Coffee & TV

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"Coffee & TV"
Single by Blur
from the album 13
Released 28 June 1999
Format 12" vinyl, cassette, 2 x CD
Recorded 1998
Genre Indie rock
Length 5:03 (radio edit)
5:18 (single edit)
5:58 (album version)
Label Food (UK)
EMI
Writer(s) Graham Coxon (Lyrics)
Blur (Music)
Producer(s) William Orbit
Blur singles chronology
"Tender"
(1999)
"Coffee & TV"
(1999)
"No Distance Left to Run"
(1999)
Music video
"Coffee & TV" on YouTube

"Coffee & TV" is a song by the British alternative rock band Blur. The band's guitarist, Graham Coxon, sings it and is also its writer ( although it's credited to the whole band, as is their custom). Damon Albarn, the lead singer of the band, sings the backup vocals on the chorus. The song appears on Blur's sixth studio album, 13, released in 1999; and was also released as the second single from the album in the same year. Despite reaching only number 11 in the UK singles chart,[1] the song became one of Blur's most popular radio hits. Blur manager Chris Morrison believed that it was deprived of a top 10 place after it was confirmed that some sales figures were not recorded.[2] Its musical style is an anomaly in comparison with the rest of 13, and is similar to Blur's earlier, Britpop days, despite featuring heavy guitar distortion and feedback during the instrumental break, major characteristics of 13.

The single edit of the song also appeared on Blur's Best Of compilation, released in 2000. In addition, it was featured on the Cruel Intentions soundtrack.

The edit of the singles cuts off the instrumental part after the fade out and runs about 40 seconds shorter than the album version. This instrumental part is a hidden track, which, though officially untitled, is known as "Coffee & TV Exitlude".

Alternative names[edit]

Whilst the song is known primarily as "Coffee & TV", the single credits the song as "Coffee + TV", whilst several other albums credit the song as "Coffee and TV". Numerous single copies actually make the title "Coffee + TV".

Music video[edit]

The music video for Coffee & TV was directed by Hammer & Tongs. It first aired in June 1999 and features an anthropomorphic dancing milk carton character named Milky, made by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.[citation needed] Milky the milk carton, as used in the video, was sold at an auction in 1999.[3]

Animated milk carton from Coffee & TV video.

The video tells the story of an animated milk carton as he goes in search of Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, who has apparently run away from home. Milk cartons are sometimes used (especially in the US) to help seek missing persons, and Coxon's (fictional) family have had his face and a plea printed on cartons. This one, Milky, sees how upset they are at breakfast and decides to resolve the situation himself. He faces many hazards on his journey, including a near-miss with a garden strimmer and, later, violent pop bottles in an alley full of litter. Milky gets a break when he is given a ride from a motorcyclist, though. He is dropped off downtown and asks around for Coxon, but comes up empty. He then goes to lady of the night 'Big Suzy' for answers, but is scared away when she attempts to pounce on him. He falls in love with a female strawberry milk carton, but she is tragically crushed to death by a passer-by's foot. Milky continues his search down the back alleys and, looking through a window, is overjoyed to find Coxon playing Coffee & TV with Blur. The window falls into the room, together with Milky. Coxon discovers him, sees his family's printed plea and makes a decision to slip away from his bandmates (only Damon seems to notice), who play on as he takes the bus back home to his family. Once off the bus, Coxon opens and drinks the carton – mortally wounding Milky – and drops him into a dustbin before going in for a touching family reunion. A weak but happy Milky witnesses this before he dies… but then emerges from the bin on angel's wings to the song's instrumental coda, waving goodbye as he ascends to heaven, reunited en route with his love, the strawberry milk carton.

The video won several awards in 1999 and 2000 including Best Video at the NME Awards and the MTV Europe Awards. In 2005, it was voted the 17th greatest pop video of all time in a poll by Channel 4.[4] In 2006, Stylus Magazine ranked it No. 32 in their list of the Top 100 Music Videos Of All Time. In a similar poll, NME ranked it the 20th greatest music video of all time. In addition the video received heavy rotation on MTV in the US.

The Israeli company Tnuva, which specializes mostly in dairy products, uses a nearly identical character named Tnuvi (Hebrew: תנובי‎) in advertisements for its milk product line.

On 12 August 2012, when Blur played at the London 2012 Olympics Closing Concert Celebration at Hyde Park, fans who bought a Blur T-Shirt on the day were given a free replica milk carton of Milky.

Reception[edit]

Piers Martin of the NME selected the track as one of the album's highlights, claiming that it demonstrated that "Graham's a great guitarist and whaddaya know, he's a pretty decent singer".[5] The song was also praised by Straw in Melody Maker.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Production credits[edit]

  • "Coffee & TV" and "Bugman" produced by William Orbit

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
position
Ireland (IRMA)[7] 26
Italy (FIMI)[8] 47
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[1] 11

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "BLUR | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Blur boss demands chart re-run – BBC News Online
  3. ^ Blur auction boosts community coffers – BBC News Online
  4. ^ 100 Greatest Pop Videos: Results
  5. ^ Martin, Piers (3 July 1999). "NME Reviews - Blur : Coffee and TV". NME. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Beaumont, Mark; Mattie Bennett, Andy Nixon, Roger Power, Duck (3 July 1999). "Coffee & TV - reviewed by Mattie Bennett, Andy Nixon, Roger Power and Duck from the band Straw". Melody Maker. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results for Blur". Retrieved 4 December 2008. 
  8. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: B". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 

External links[edit]